Entries in Laws (4)


Female Lawmakers Target Viagra in Response to Anti-Abortion Laws

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- A third female lawmaker has shown her displeasure with the record number of anti-abortion measures passing across the country.

The bill introduced by Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner on March 2 targets men’s access to Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors.

Her measure would require that a physician consult with a psychologist before prescribing the medication to a patient, as well as requiring that men taking the drug receive information about celibacy.

“The men in our lives, including members of the General Assembly, generously devote time to fundamental female reproductive issues. The least we can do is return the favor,” she said in a news release posted to her website. “By implementing more intensive screenings before prescribing the medication and requiring outpatient educational services, we can do more to prevent the potential side effects linked to PDE-5 inhibitors.”

Turner’s measure, State Bill 307, follows one currently in the House called the “Heartbeat” bill. That bill would prevent an abortion if a fetal heartbeat was detected, even if that occurred as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The Guttmacher Institute said on its website that 92 laws restricting access to abortion services were passed in the U.S. last year. The previous high was 34 in 2005.

Because of this, female lawmakers including Turner have responded with bills and amendments focusing on men’s health and targeting Viagra and vasectomies.

In Illinois, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy sponsored an amendment to a bill forcing women to get ultrasounds before an abortion that would force men who want Viagra to watch a graphic video of the drug’s potential side effects.

In Virginia, state Sen. Janet Howell pushed an amendment to the state’s ultrasound bill that required all men seeking Viagra to get a rectal examination.

“It is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs,” Turner said in the news release. “When a man makes a crucial decision about his health and his body, he should be fully aware of the alternative options and the lifetime repercussions of that decision.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Charged with Self-Abortion After Fetus Found in Trash

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police charged a 20-year-old woman with first-degree self-abortion after she allegedly terminated her pregnancy by ingesting an herbal drink, according to WABC-TV.

Police arrested Yaribely Almonte on Wednesday and charged her after her fetus was found dead in the trash outside her Washington Heights building.  Self-abortion is a misdemeanor in New York, and according to the state statute, the charge applies if a woman “commits or submits to an abortional act upon herself which causes her miscarriage” after 24 weeks unless a physician states an abortion is medically necessary to save the woman’s life. If convicted, Almonte faces up to a year in jail.

Almonte couldn’t be reached for comment, and it’s unknown whether she has an attorney.

Laws across the country related to self-abortion vary widely, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit reproductive health research institution.

Only a handful of states, including New York, have laws explicitly prohibiting self-abortion.  New York’s law and a few others were passed before the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that affirmed a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.  Since the passage of Roe, some states no longer enforce these self-induced abortion statutes.

Utah passed its law in 2010 after a 17-year-old pregnant girl paid a man to beat her to induce a miscarriage.  In that case, the fetus survived, the man went to jail and the law was enacted that would make the girl’s actions criminal.

Thirty-nine states make it illegal for anyone other than a medical provider -- usually a physician -- to perform an abortion.

“We can infer that there is some penalty if the person performing the abortion is not a physician,” said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute.  “Not all the laws exempt actions by a pregnant woman, but some do.”

There are also other states that have charged women under the fetal homicide law, Nash added.

It’s not clear what was in the drink Almonte consumed, but Dr. Kevin Ault, an associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine said the biggest risks of non-medical abortions are bleeding and infections.

“When you’re having a miscarriage, the cervix is open and a lot of bacteria can get into the vagina and go up into the uterus,” he said.  “People can also lose a lot of blood, and the only out is to go to the hospital.”  But because women may not want to admit what happened, doctors may not get the information they need for proper treatment.

There is a medically established protocol for abortions which includes counseling, the appropriate medications and post-abortion treatment, and Ault explained that self-abortion eliminates some of these important steps.

Statistics are unclear about whether the number of self-abortions is on the rise.

“If you talk to gynecologists that practice in bigger cities, like here in Atlanta, you get the impression they’re becoming more common for a variety of reasons,” Ault said.

One reason is the availability of a drug called misoprostol, or Cytotec, that can cause miscarriages.  It’s a prescription-only drug, but is often sold illegally at a very low price.  It’s also used as part of a two-drug combination, with mifepristone,  for medical abortions.

But a recent study by Guttmacher researchers surveyed nearly 9,500 pregnant women who visited abortion providers and found only 1.2 percent of them admitted to trying misoprostol in the past or with their current pregnancy, and only 1.4 percent of these women tried other means such as herbal concoctions.

The researchers, however, said it’s still unclear how many women self-induce abortions outside a clinical setting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


South Dakota Passes Tougher Regulations on Abortions 

Siri Stafford/Photodisc(PIERRE, S.D.) -- South Dakota became the first state in the country to require a woman seeking an abortion to visit a pregnancy help center first and submit to counseling to ensure her decision is "voluntary" and "informed."

Under the new law the woman must also wait at least 72 hours after completing the counseling before she can schedule an abortion, the longest waiting period in the nation. The law goes into effect on July 1.

"I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives," Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, said in a statement. "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."

A number of state proposals nationwide have targeted abortion this year, including laws passed in Ohio and Texas.

Planned Parenthood announced it will file a lawsuit seeking to repeal the law.

Sarah Stoesz, the president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood's office for Minnesota and North and South Dakota, said the three-day waiting period is a "callous" attempt to put another barrier in front of women seeking abortions. But the compulsory counseling at pregnancy crisis centers, she said, would be even worse.

"The centers are non-regulated, non-licensed, non-accredited, and they are not covered by HIPPA laws, or any other privacy law," said Stoesz. "Their sole focus is to dissuade women from having an abortion."

Planned Parenthood is the only provider of abortions in the state of South Dakota. In contrast to the pregnancy crisis centers, or help centers, Stoesz said the Planned Parenthood clinic is regulated, accredited, and subject to all laws concerning privacy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Current Laws Do Not Keep Kids from Tanning Beds

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Indoor tanning beds are known to increase the risk for skin cancer and there are several laws warning the public about this. However, a new study from San Diego University reports that current laws are not effectively working to keep adolescents from indoor tanning.

Researchers interviewed 6,125 adolescents aged 14-17 years and their parents and asked them if they had used indoor tanning beds in the past 12 months. They also analyzed state indoor tanning laws and conducted interviews with enforcement experts in the 100 most populous U.S. cities.

Their analysis found that 17.1 percent of girls and 3.2 percent of boys had used indoor tanning facilities. Moreover, teens were 70 percent more likely to use a tanning facility if a parent had used it before. Residing in a state with youth-access laws that specify age restrictions or require parental consent also did not appear to decrease the number of teens going for tanning.

The study's authors conclude that current laws are ineffective in reducing indoor tanning and bans might be needed.  The report emphasized the need for stricter laws such as a ban on tanning for people under the age of 18 years as recommended by the World Health Organization.

The study is published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio